31 July 2010

time to say goodbye

From the first tentative offerings of tomatoes and strawberries, right up to the recent crops of potatoes and fresh lettuce leaves, we've had some good times here on the balcony - but all good things must come to an end.

The weirdness of what I am about to do was only brought home in the week whilst talking to a friend, I used the term "relocate the allotment" in conversation...which is bloody odd...allotments are set plots in a an enclosed space, not something you move - but this is how I have come to see the balcony, a little spot of quiet seclusion to grow.

So today will see the flat and by association the balcony emptied of my possessions, which any removal man will tell you can be a bit of a pain at the best of times, although I would expect that very few of them are asked to shift 200kgs of compost and veg down a flight of stairs - well volunteered Cameron!

With only the sale of the flat and a divorce 18 months or so away before things are really done and dusted, a rather tempestuous chapter of my life is drawing to a close, and in these hard times a little bit of perspective can go a long way - On this day in 1941 Adolf Hitler issued the command "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question." thousands lost their lives, I just lost 3sqM of corrugated steel.

See you in the WD3.

22 July 2010

Feast or Famine?

It was always going to be a bit hit and miss with the potatoes, I could tell that right from the start, the knowing looks, the sniggers, the more experience gardeners just rolling their eyes.

But I did what all novice gardeners and I am coming to learn the more experience ones do too, I made the soil as good as I could, followed the instructions on the packet and tried my best to keep them fed and watered.

My best however was pretty rubbish. The end result being shriveled stalks, yellow leaves and the plants not making it quite to the flowering stage.

In short; it looked like there wasn't going to be any homegrown potato salad this summer.

So with nothing else left to do, I decided to get my hands dirty. And was rewarded with something that can only be described as a potato.

Further digging around netted nearly a kilo of these little (in some case more pea than potato) beauties.

For those that are about for the BBQ on the 31st August, you may well get to see just how good they are when combined with mayo, garlic and red onions - for those that aren't or that I just don't actually know, here's an arty photo instead.

21 July 2010

The Great Plague of Indolence

"On that same night I will pass through Elevated Agriculture and strike down every firstborn - both vegetable and fruit - and I will bring judgement on the lazy sod that promised to look after both the fruit and the veg and to write at least one post a week, but instead totally against all previous behavioural traits decided to go running, join a rugby club and get a social life . For I am the unpredictable and at times scorching British Summer Time, more fool he that tries to predict when or even if I'll turn up!"

Vengeful Agricultural God ch.1 v.1

So, yes. I erm haven't been paying much attention to the rapidly yellow contents of the balcony and as a result things appear to be dead or at the very least quite seriously maimed.

The potatoes failed to flower and moved straight from big green and bushy, to yellow wilted and slightly mushy. I have been warned/reassured that potatoes might or might not be a success the first time out, but only getting my hands dirty and digging around in the compost will tell.

After the previous glut of strawberries things have gone a bit wild in the little yellow planter bag, with tendrils feeling their way out and over the edge, and rather a lot of brown curled up leaves and dried out fruit lingering in the muck. Rest assured that a clean up effort shall ensue forthwith.

Looking best of the bunch (from a distance at least) are the cos and delight lettuces, but closer inspection shows a few well munched leaves and rather more dried out yellow husks around the otherwise healthy hearts.

All in all a bit of a mess, but after an hour outside things are looking a whole lot better...but that is a story for tomorrow night!